Sam Stewart is a cameraman much in demand for wildlife documentaries. All aspects of the natural world interest him, and his profession has taken him to remote parts of the world, including underwater in the Middle East, Alaska and with Maasai warriors in Tanzania.
Sam has been working as a cameraman on a range of wildlife TV programs including the BBC’s ‘Springwatch’ and ‘The Great British Year’. Here is Sam Stewart's story in his own words:
As a kid, I spent most of my time outside, playing in the mud, climbing trees, or running about the garden. I was fascinated by anything natural, catching newts in the grubby garden pond was my favourite past time.
As a teenager, I was given a digital compact camera for my birthday and spent many hours not having a clue how it worked! I didn't know anything about photography but I enjoyed it. And I tried to marry up my passion for nature with the terrible use of my first camera I don't think I have any of the images saved and that's probably a good thing. I soon upgraded to a very basic DSLR and that's when I really got going.
When deciding what I was going to do with my life after school, I stumbled across a course at Falmouth university called "Marine and Natural History Photography"
I knew immediately that it was exactly what I wanted to do. Bizarrely, it was the exact moment I connected the amazing wildlife documentaries I watched on TV with an actual job. I suddenly realised that I could do that. I remember the click in my mind, "someone must be doing it".
It seems odd to think back to that now. I'm now 25 and currently sat on a plane at 32,000ft, over the Alaska mountain range on my way to northwestern Alaska, just below the arctic circle. I'm working on my biggest project to date. I am incredibly thankful for this amazing opportunity.
Over past few years since I graduated from Falmouth, I have worked hard to get the projects I've been offered - I have acted as a field assistant, a runner, a camera assistant, a data wrangler, a tripod carrier and many other roles - these allowed me to learn about the industry, gain experience and prove my dedication to progressing. So, now to be a camera operator makes me feel really proud of everything I've achieved in only a few years.
When it comes to equipment I try not to get too hung up on it. I do what I need to get the best shots. I try to have the best kit for the job but I don't focus on gear too much. I love to use gear I can trust, that's strong, study and I can take anywhere and treat how I need to. I never have a clean and tidy desk to put my bag on. It's usually mud flats or desert dunes. My gear gets hammered, and it's a good sign if products stand the test of time.
I'm currently using a few different Vanguard products and all of them are getting their fair share of field testing. I love using their gear because it's reliable. All too often kit is over complicated. My vanguard equipment is straight to the point, good quality gear.
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